Human Rights Situation of Roma: Europe's Largest Ethnic Minority: Briefing of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, June 16, 2006   [open pdf - 419KB]

From the statement of Ronald McNamara: "Conservatively, they are estimated at 8 million to 12 million. Roma are not only Europe's largest ethnic minority, they are also one of its most marginalized. Certainly, I have had the opportunity in my own travels and work with the commission to visit Romani populations throughout the OSCE region from Greece to Belarus, and just about everywhere in between. As the United Nations Development Program report in 2003 noted, ''by measures ranging from literacy to infant mortality to basic nutrition, most of the region's Roma endure living conditions closer to those of sub-Saharan Africa than to Europe.'' In a classic downward spiral, each of these conditions exacerbates the other in a selfperpetuating cycle. Sadly, efforts to improve the situation of Roma have often been stunted by pervasive discrimination, opportunistic political anti-Romism, and government neglect. But the situation is not entirely bleak. Roma are taking control of their destiny as never before, winning seats in the European Union Parliament and winning cases before the European Court on Human Rights." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: Erika Schlager, Tano Bechev, Madga Matache, Timea Junghaus, and Nicolae Gheorghe.

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